But one thing I can almost guarantee is that every teacher is surfing around on social media, whether that is YouTube, Instagram, FaceBook or Pinterest for inspiration in the form of decor ideas, motivating quotes or even lesson plans. As I am not going to be a general education teacher this year, I haven't really bought anything. I totally skipped the Back to School sale on Teachers Pay Teachers because I have no idea what I will want/need for my new role. This is the first time ever in my career that I have not purchased school supplies for an eager classroom of children. (It's a little weird if we are being honest, but my wallet is happy.)
That said, I am one of the teachers who is still scouring the internet for inspiration. I won't see my new students until September 3, so I have awhile to go. I still am unsure about my middle school space because principals and secretaries don't return until next week and thus I can't see it yet.
I do know that I want whatever space I have there, be it an office/closet/classroom/whatever, to be welcoming. I want it to be somewhere that my students know they can come find me if they need me. I am crossing my fingers for a classroom, even if it is a small one because then the students and I can collaboratively work together to make it OUR space (I think this is going to be super important since I'll likely only have 1-2 actual "classes" that I see daily).
It also has not escaped my notice that I'm brand new to my new district. Nobody really knows me. None of the kids will know me. And that means I can set the tone immediately for how I want the students (and hopefully my colleagues) to perceive me.
I have done a lot of learning about Restorative Practices, Trauma Informed Schools and Growth Mindset in the last few years. The biggest thing that has come out of all of the self-initiated learning I've done is the reinforcement that relationships matter and should be our first priority. (It's not a coincidence that my good friend, Dan Kreiness asked me to be on his podcast talking about how important relationships are.) Every student needs to feel loved, valued and welcomed. I think that is incredibly important.
When I came across a picture somewhere on social media where a teacher had put, in huge letters, above her classroom door "Hooray! You're Here!" I knew I wanted to do that too. What a positive, welcoming and affirming message to give to every student, adult, parent, PERSON who walks through the door. That you are valued and that you matter.
Because I have some time before I am likely able to get into my space(s), I made one and hung it up over the archway into our living room (my teenagers think I'm a little odd, but that's nothing new). I'm super excited to bring this to school and let everyone know that they are welcome here in this space with me and everyone else.